A visit to the fish markets in Chennai and then a cook-up on the beach inspired this dish. 






Skill level

Average: 2.5 (23 votes)


  • 800 g prawns, peeled and de-veined
  • 400 g firm white fish skin and pin bones removed, cut into chunks
  • 1½ tbsp freshly ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 cm piece ginger peeled and chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 6 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ cup peanuts or cashews
  • 1 cup okra, trimmed and cut in half
  • 300 ml coconut milk
  • 100 ml water
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 small green mango, stone removed, flesh cut into chunks
  • 1 handful puffed lotus seeds, optional (see Note)
  • 2 tbsp torn fresh coriander leaves
  • 2 limes, quartered, to serve
  • flatbreads, to serve (get Gary’s naan recipe here)


For tempering

  • 3 tbsp mustard oil
  • 3 star anise
  • 5 fresh green cardamom pods
  • 4 dried red chilli
  • 1 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Place the prawns and white fish into a bowl and season with half the ground turmeric and the teaspoon of salt and set aside for 4-5 minutes.

Using a mortar and pestle or blender grind the ginger, garlic and onions together to form a smooth creamy paste and set aside.

Place the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle and pound to a powder.

Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large heavy based pot add the peanuts for a few minutes to colour. Remove and set aside. Add the okra and fry for 1 minute to part-cook and colour slightly, then remove and add to the peanuts.

Add remaining coconut oil to the pot and add the fish and prawns, cook for 3-4 minutes until the fish firms up a little and colours lightly, then remove from the pot and set aside.

Add the onion paste to the pot and cook out for a few minutes. Add 1 tbsp of the pounded dried spice mix and remaining turmeric powder; fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, until the onions are soft and sweet.

Pour in the coconut milk, the water and a pinch of sugar and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 5 minutes to let the flavours combine.

Add fish and prawns back to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, add the green mango, cook for 1 minutes and then add okra and peanuts, saving a few of the peanuts for the end. Simmer for a further 3- 4 minutes or until the fish is cooked. Remove from the heat and set the curry aside.

Meanwhile place a small pan over a moderate heat, add the mustard oil and gently add the tempering spices. Allow them to pop and sizzle for 10-15 seconds and tip over the curry.

Sprinkle with the puffed lotus seeds, remaining peanuts and coriander. Serve with lime and flat bread such as paratha or chapatti.



• Puffed lotus seeds, phool makhana, are available from selected specialist retailers, but you can easily leave them out if you can't find them.